Tilney St Lawrence drink-driver’s job search ends in collision

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An unemployed drink-driver who drove around looking for jobs whilst swigging from a bottle of vodka has escaped an immediate jail sentence.

Mark Atkinson was almost four times the legal drink-drive limit when he crashed his car into a hedge and fence post in Walpole St Andrew.

The 45-year-old, of Workhouse Lane, Tilney St Lawrence, appeared at Lynn Magistrates’ Court on Friday and admitted drink-driving on January 22.

He was sentenced to eight-weeks imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, with 70 hours’ unpaid work in the community.

He was also banned from driving for 30 months and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £80.

Paul Brown, prosecuting, said when police arrived at the crash scene in Wisbech Road, Atkinson was so drunk he was unable to provide a roadside breath test.

They also found a half-empty one-litre bottle of vodka in the car.

A breath test at the police station later revealed 129 microgrammes of alcohol in 100 millilitres of breath – the legal limit is 35.

Mr Brown said: “He was driving around whilst also drinking from a bottle of vodka. He then lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a hedge and fence post.

“He told police he had been driving round looking for jobs as he was unemployed.”

In mitigation, Jackie Upton said Atkinson had been through a “particularly bad couple of years”.

She said he separated from his wife in 2008 and was made redundant from his job at a housing association in 2013 – forcing him to sell his home.

“He has no explanation as to why he committed the offence. He thinks he had a breakdown,” she said.

His driving ban will be reduced by 30 weeks on successful completion of a drink-drive rehabilitation course.